“ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your
soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’
My little friend I. and I spent the entire day together on Good Friday while his mama worked. One of the things we did was go to a city park a few miles from my home. I. is only 2 1/2 but the boy is mostly fearless. He doesn't seem to grasp that he has limitations because of his age, inexperience, or size. This is not a complaint, just an observation.
When we got to the park playground, he wanted to slide first--one of his favorite things to do! There are many slides at this particular park. The variety includes small ones perfect for a two year old to enjoy; it also includes larger plastic ones with or without a tunnel. But I. spotted the two old metal slides first--the ones like the one I was terrified of on my third grade playground. I felt brave at age eight when I climbed up that metal giant and slid down, gleeful with my accomplishment. Baby I. walked right up to that high metal ladder and started climbing. I instructed my fifteen year old son to stand at the bottom of the ladder and be ready to catch this little one if a foot should slip. I walked to the end of the slide and waited for I's arrival at the bottom.
His climb was laborious. This slide was designed decades ago for older children than I. His legs are short for the distance between the ladder rungs. But he climbed. He had the goal in his mind and he knew the reward was waiting for him at the top of that ladder. His anticipation of that sweet, short ride carried him up those steps. And that boy was happy when he arrived at the bottom, all smiles, ready to repeat!
It didn't occur to me how hard the baby boy was working until a girl, aged 8 or 9, rushed up that ladder in front of him on one of his repeat trips. Her feet flew from rung to rung and she was at the top in seconds while baby I. climbed laboriously behind her. The pure determination in his face showed his concentration on the task. He was literally working with all his heart, soul, strength, and mind to make that climb and receive the reward as he swooshed down, giggling.
He did not care how long it took him; he did not care that others made the same climb in much less time. The boy was determined! And in those moments of observation, I could hear Jesus whisper,
"Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven." (Matthew 18:3)
As I continue my life's journey, I am inspired to possess more tenacity and become more childlike as I seek to walk with Jesus each day. Walking the road, not looking for the easy or easier way, not avoiding the harder parts. I need to work at it with all my heart, mind, soul, and strength.
Pressing on in HIM,